The Impact of Climate Change on the Hydrology and Availability of Surface Water in Six Rivers in the Vessigny Watershed in Trinidad and Tobago

Adrian Lutchman and Festus Addo-Yobo, University of Trinidad and Tobago, Point LIsas, Trinidad


Variations in rainfall patterns have exacerbated the periodic scarcity of water in several rural districts in Trinidad and Tobago and likewise in many Eastern Caribbean Countries. Periodic drought and excessive downpour and flooding occur in part due to the adverse impacts of climate change on local weather patterns (Tenecia Stephenson). This scarcity has been worsened by rapid urban development in some rural areas. Re-strategizing the water infrastructure to make it resilient to climate change opens up the possibility of searching for and treating water sources closer to consumers, in the districts thus reducing transmission losses and gaining better control.

Due to uncertainty in predicting the impact of climate change on the water infrastructure, the OECD (2018) advocates adaptive strategies, which use less expensive natural and indigenous resources to achieve resilience. This work demonstrates an adaptive response for resilience.

A mechanistic model is validated for simulating the hydrology of the Vessigny watershed in northern Trinidad, and for predicting water flows in six rivers, which are potential sources for treatment in a nearby Water Treatment Plant. The impact of climate driven temperature and precipitation changes on the water budget are presented. The water for treatment would be retained in a nearby pond. It is concluded that the Guapo River and the Mahaut River can provide significant average daily recharge to the 290 million gallons capacity retention pond. However they are 4 and 3 kilometres from the pond therefore a cost benefit analysis (OECD 2018) is required for decision making.

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